Category Archives: Health

The evidence still suggests the virus came from nature

Angela L. Rasmussen and Stephen A. Goldstein write: In March 2020, a group of renowned evolutionary virologists analyzed the genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 and found it was overwhelmingly likely that this virus had never been manipulated in any laboratory. Like the earlier coronaviruses SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, they theorized, it “spilled over” from its natural reservoir… Read More »

The mRNA vaccine revolution is just beginning

Stephen Buranyi writes: No one expected the first Covid-19 vaccine to be as good as it was. “We were hoping for around 70 per cent, that’s a success,” says Dr Ann Falsey, a professor of medicine at the University of Rochester, New York, who ran a 150-person trial site for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in 2020.… Read More »

Once again, America is becoming a nation of drunks

Kate Julian writes: Few things are more American than drinking heavily. But worrying about how heavily other Americans are drinking is one of them. The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock because, the crew feared, the Pilgrims were going through the beer too quickly. The ship had been headed for the mouth of the Hudson River,… Read More »

The necessity for global vaccine equity

Sue Halpern writes: A race to vaccinate the world is not an effort to achieve herd immunity. At least in this country, that goal was a kind of marketing device, a way of inspiring people to abide by masking and social-distancing rules while waiting for a vaccine, and then to encourage everyone to do their… Read More »

Donated by India, vaccines languish and may expire in Afghanistan

By Ruchi Kumar, Undark, May 27, 2021 Mohammad Rahmani is not a Covid-19 denier. He wears a mask and practices social distancing. But the 24-year-old software engineer from Kabul, Afghanistan is deeply skeptical of Covid-19 vaccines. Online videos — created in Afghanistan and neighboring countries, then uploaded on social media — have convinced him that… Read More »

Covid pandemic: How rising inequalities unfolded and why we cannot afford to ignore it

Hyejin Kang/Shutterstock By Ian Goldin, University of Oxford Historian Walter Scheidel argues in The Great Leveler that pandemics are among the four great horsemen that, through history, have led to greater equality – the others being war, revolution and state failure. Economist Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century similarly points out that the… Read More »

Covid’s deadliest phase may come soon

Zeynep Tufekci writes: If world leaders don’t act now, the end of the Covid pandemic may come with a horrible form of herd immunity, as more transmissible variants that are taking hold around the world kill millions. There’s troubling new evidence that the B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India, could be far more transmissible than… Read More »

Even without definitive proof, the lab-leak theory is a call for action

Daniel Engber writes: Last summer, Michael Imperiale, a University of Michigan virologist and 10-year member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, published an essay on the need to “rethink” some basic research-safety practices in light of the coronavirus pandemic. But he and his co-author—another biosecurity-board veteran—did want to make one thing clear: There… Read More »

Had Covid (or been vaccinated)? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime

Nature reports: Many people who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 will probably make antibodies against the virus for most of their lives. So suggest researchers who have identified long-lived antibody-producing cells in the bone marrow of people who have recovered from COVID-19. The study provides evidence that immunity triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection will be extraordinarily… Read More »